2 LIers named to U.S. Olympic soccer team

Long Island natives Crystal Dunn, left, and Allie Long were selected to the U.S. Olympic women's soccer team on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Doug Pensinger By Michael Lewis Special to Newsday Updated July 13, 2016 4:43 PM Crystal Dunn and Allie Long have something in common. Both have had to overcome disappointments to realize their Olympic dreams. Dunn, a Rockville Centre native, was among the final cuts from the United States Women’s World Cup championship team last year. Long, who hails from East Northport, couldn’t stick with the team, and at 28, was running out of time. Now she is counting down the days to the opener at the Rio Summer Games against New Zealand on Aug. 3. Both Long Islanders were named to the 18-player squad Tuesday by U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis. “As soon as Jill said congrats, I was so grateful and thankful,” Long said. “I tried not to cry, but when we hung up the phone, I did. Only happy tears. People had told me this was impossible. The team had just won the World Cup, it was hard that they would change the team and I came in so late, but it happened. It’s one of the most humbling and special experiences.” With the Olympic rosters holding only 18 players compared to 23 at the Women’s World Cup, Ellis had to ensure her selections were versatile, especially if the team wants to win an unprecedented fourth successive gold medal and fifth overall. Long, who plays midfield for the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League, has performed well at the attacking and defensive spots. Dunn, 24, is a triple threat — at forward, midfield or defense. Last year Dunn took out her frustrations on the rest of the NWSL, leading the league in goals while earning MVP honors. “Wow, what a journey!” Dunn wrote on her verified Twitter account. “A lot of tears, and pain, but all of the love and support Continue Reading

NFL draft helped lead Julie Ertz to starring role on women’s soccer team

When the Philadelphia Eagles selected tight end Zach Ertz in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, it’s unlikely anyone with the women’s national soccer team noticed. But they should have. Because while Ertz’s signing netted the Eagles a sure-handed receiver that has taken them to Sunday’s NFC title game, U.S. Soccer wound up with something of arguably greater value: his soon-to-be-wife, Julie, a versatile midfielder and defender who won a World Cup in 2015 and last year was named the nation’s female player of the year. And Ertz (née Johnston) owes at least part of that success to her decision to follow Zach from Northern California to Philadelphia. The couple, who married last year, settled less than 30 minutes from Carli Lloyd’s New Jersey home. Lloyd invited Ertz, then just beginning to break into the national team, to work with her and James Galanis, her unconventional coach. That would never have happened had her then-boyfriend signed with the Green Bay Packers. “When I first moved to the Philly area, I didn’t really know anyone,” said Ertz, who will likely be in the midfield alongside Lloyd on Sunday when the U.S. opens its 2018 schedule against Denmark, the runner-up in last year’s European Championships, at SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) in San Diego (4:30 p.m. PST, ESPN). “It was great to have a familiar face but [also] to be able to train with someone at such a world-class level. And to have a trainer out there to kind of really focus on my foundation and technique.” However it was what Galanis said to her, not how he coached her, that had the biggest impact. “James asked her, ‘What’s it going to take for you to get into the starting mix,’ ” Lloyd remembers. When Ertz answered by sheepishly saying she was going to have wait her turn, Galanis pounced. Lloyd said he challenger her: “You should be in there every single day fighting for a Continue Reading

U.S. soccer teams gather in California

Both the U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams will gather in Carson, Calif., this week for their annual winter training camps. While the former enters an era of self-inspection and reconstruction in the wake of catastrophic results last fall, the latter will begin work to avoid a similar fate this fall. It’s been three months since the lowest point in the men’s team’s history, an inexcusable defeat in Trinidad and Tobago that meant no World Cup berth for the first time in 32 years, cost Bruce Arena his coaching job and provoked questions about how the U.S. Soccer Federation operates. Still dazed, the Americans reconvened a month later with a mix of regulars and newcomers for a 1-1 friendly draw in Portugal. The climb back to normality will begin in earnest Thursday for two and a half weeks of workouts and a Jan. 28 friendly against Bosnia at StubHub Center. Dave Sarachan, the coaching caretaker until the position is filled permanently, will announce a roster of about 30 players Monday. With candidates from European and Mexican clubs unavailable, Sarachan will call on MLS players almost exclusively. With no World Cup and no major tournaments until summer 2019, the United States will start rebuilding the player pool by focusing on prospects from the domestic circuit. The keys to the future, Bundesliga-based 19-year-olds Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, will not rejoin the team until the next official FIFA window, March 19-27. The Americans will probably play two friendlies, with one or both in Europe. This month’s camp will probably turn the spotlight on, among others, New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams, 18; FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta, 22; Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan, 22; Los Angeles FC defender Walker Zimmerman, 24; and Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen, 22. It will probably offer a first opportunity to forward Christian Ramirez, 26, who toiled in the second tier before scoring 14 Continue Reading

U.S. Soccer Federation sues women’s national team union in fear of strike

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Soccer Federation sued the union of its world championship women’s soccer team on Wednesday, saying it fears players may attempt to strike ahead of this year’s Olympics. In a complaint filed in federal court in Chicago, the USSF said Richard Nichols, who became executive director of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association in late 2014, has refused to acknowledge a Dec. 31 expiration date contained in a memorandum of understanding agreed to by the governing body and the union in March 2013. The memorandum listed changes agreed to from the previous collective bargaining agreement. The USSF claimed Nichols informed it on Dec. 23 that the deal will end on Feb. 24 and at a meeting Wednesday refused to agree that the union would not strike before Dec. 31. The USSF asked the court to determine the CBA exists and has an expiration of Dec. 31. “While unfortunate, we believe taking this action provides the parties with the most efficient path to a resolution, in an effort to not jeopardize the team’s participation in any competitions this year,” the USSF said in a statement. U.S. SOCCER STAR ABBY WAMBACH GETS OWN BARBIE DOLL In a Jan. 6 email attached to the lawsuit, Nichols told the USSF the union’s position was that the collective bargaining agreement no longer exists and the 2013 memorandum of understanding could be terminated at any time. “The world champion women of the National Soccer team are negotiating in good faith to reach agreement on a new CBA that will bring fairness and equity to the sport,” the union said Wednesday night in a statement. “The unfortunate lawsuit by the USSF is a regrettable distraction that will not weaken the resolve of the players or deter them from the bargaining table, where this dispute belongs.” Goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted: “We players stand together, united in our fight for what is Continue Reading

U.S. women’s soccer team earns Olympic berth with 5-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago

HOUSTON (AP) — After scoring three goals against Trinidad and Tobago, Alex Morgan was relieved that the United States was assured a spot this summer in the Rio Olympics. “We finally qualified,” Morgan said. “We don’t have to talk about qualifying anymore.” Morgan’s hat trick, the third of her career, highlighted the United States’ 5-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago on Friday night in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS SPORTS ON FACEBOOK. "LIKE" US HERE. The World Cup champions, ranked No. 1 world, will seek their fourth straight Olympic gold medal and fifth overall. There were two Olympic berths up for grabs in the North and Central America and Caribbean region. Canada secured the other spot in Brazil with a 3-1 semifinal victory over Costa Rica earlier Friday at BBVA Compass Stadium. It is the third straight trip to the Olympics for the 11th-ranked Canadians, who will face the United States on Sunday in the tournament’s final match. The Americans went 3-0 with a 16-0 goal difference in the group stage of the eight-team qualification tournament. They capped the first round with a 10-0 rout of Puerto Rico led by a team record-tying five goals from Crystal Dunn, the last player cut from the roster that won the World Cup last summer in Canada. The Americans have never lost a CONCACAF Olympic qualifier, going 17-0-1, and they’ve outscored opponents 96-4. It is the first time Trinidad and Tobago has made the semifinals in qualifying. “I think we took it to Trinidad and Tobago,” Morgan said. “They’re a really good first-half team but I think as the game wears on they get a little more unorganized. But I think we wreaked some havoc for them in the first half.” Coach Jill Ellis tinkered with the lineup a bit for the match, sitting Dunn and Ali Krieger, who had both logged a lot of minutes in the Continue Reading

U.S. women’s soccer team knows it has a golden opportunity to avenge its World Cup loss

GLASGOW, Scotland — Alex Morgan is without question the new face of women’s soccer, but Abby Wambach remains its head, heart and soul. Wambach is a dominant force, especially in the air, where she has the timing, touch and courage to convert crosses into goals with her head. Overall, the Rochester native has 138 international goals in her decorated career, including an overtime header in last year’s World Cup final against Japan that should have resulted in the United States lifting the trophy. Instead, the red, white and blue gave up a late equalizer, lost in a heartbreaking penalty shootout and arrive at the Olympics looking for redemption. “There’s no better motivation than losing,” Wambach said. “This team has something to prove.” The women’s tournament begins on Wednesday ahead of Friday’s Opening Ceremon y, with games in Glasgow, Coventry and Cardiff. The U.S. women open here at Hampden Park against France, an up-and-coming side that they eliminated in the World Cup semifinals last summer in Germany. Other than the U.S. men’s basketball team, no team is under more pressure to win than the so-called Girls of Summer, who are vying for their third straight gold medal. Le-Bron James and Carmelo Anthony, by comparison, have earned a bronze and gold in Athens and Beijing, respectively. Even as the competition improves (Brazil, Japan and Germany), the U.S. is still expected to win. “We are ready,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. “We are full of confidence and we’ll have fun at the Olympics. We have the personalities on the field and we are very confident that we’ll go into this tournament to do our very best and bring out the best performance.” Thus far, their top performance has gone viral. The team released a video of players dancing and lip-synching to the Miley Cyrus song, “Party In The U.S.A.” If that is the G-rated side of the Continue Reading

U.S. women’s national soccer team is missing the color of America

Briana Scurry made her name in the nets, providing a resolute barrier to intrusion during an illustrious 14-year career with the U.S. women's soccer national team. The goalkeeper may have appeared right at home once she got there, but she took a somewhat unconventional route. Although she'd excelled at the sport from an early age and garnered All-American status as a high school standout in Dayton, Minn., her tiny hometown, Scurry says it was only a personal connection between her club soccer coach and Jim Rudy, the former University of Massachusetts coach, that got her the look she needed to land a scholarship. "I completely came in the back window because the front doors were closed to me," says Scurry, 39, who started in goal for the U.S. national team in two Olympics and three World Cups, and played professionally until her retirement last year. As a teenager, Scurry tried out for the Olympic Development Program but did not advance beyond the state level; she never played with the developmental teams of the U.S. Soccer women's program. But in 1993, while she led UMass to NCAA women's soccer championship semifinals, she demonstrated her value to North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance, who was then coaching the U.S. national squad. The fact that she was the only African-American player at UMass, she says, didn't really dawn on her at the time, but Scurry says she has since begun to wonder what factor her race may have played throughout the course of her career. "I think about it more now because I'm trying to think if there's something I'm missing," she says. "Clearly, there is." Women's soccer has skyrocketed, both in quality and popularity, during the past 20 years in the U.S., but Scurry and others say that many minority women are being left out. "Soccer is simply not a choice for young African-American girls," she says, crediting her parents' decision to move to a predominately white suburban neighborhood outside Minneapolis as the "only reason Continue Reading

U.S. women’s World Cup roster has veteran feel with Christie Rampone, Abby Wambach and others

Pia Sundhage, coach of the U.S. national women's soccer team, Monday named 21 players who will compete in the women's World Cup beginning June 28 in Germany, surprising nobody with her selections. Following a rough patch of qualifying and exhibition matches, the coach stuck with a roster that includes one player, defender Christie Rampone, who is playing in her fourth World Cup; two players, star forward Abby Wambach and midfielder Shannon Boxx, in their third World Cup; and six at their second World Cup. The Americans won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics and are ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIFA computer, yet they have not captured the World Cup since 1999 and are considered no better than second or third favorites behind host Germany and Brazil. "We have not picked the 21 best players," Sundage said. "We've picked the 21 players who can do something fantastic. It's going to take some guts, some luck, some skill, some goals, some defending. You have to do everything. The team that can deal with that adversity is the team that will win this world Cup." Among the choices were goalkeeper Hope Solo, recovering from shoulder surgery, and an impressive total of five New Jerseyans - Rampone of Point Pleasant, Heather O'Reilly of East Brunswick, Tobin Heath of Basking Ridge, Carli Lloyd of Delran and Jill Loyden of Vineland. In addition, Yael Averbuch of Montclair could well be named later as one of nine alternates to the team. The U.S. had unexpected trouble qualifying for this World Cup, losing to Mexico in a CONCACAF regional semifinal. The Americans then were forced to win a tough home-and-home playoff series against Italy for the final berth. "We were given a second chance, and we talked about that," said Wambach, who already has nine World Cup goals to her credit. "We can't squander this chance. It's not very often you get a second chance to do something great. "Only one player on this team (Rampone) has won a World Cup title," Wambach said. "I Continue Reading

U.S. women’s soccer team adds goalie Hope Solo to Olympic roster

The U.S. women's national team has decided to take a Solo flight to China for the Olympics. In other words, goalkeeper Hope Solo made the team, but Briana Scurry didn't. Solo, embroiled in a major controversy during last year's Women's World Cup, was selected to the roster along with Nicole Barnhart for the Beijing Games Monday. Scurry, picked to play over Solo in the 4-0 semifinal loss to Brazil, was named one of four alternates. The stunning decision, which eventually helped cost coach Greg Ryan his job, overshadowed virtually everything on the team after Solo publicly complained about the benching. Scurry, 37, has been best keeper in U.S. women's history, having backstopped the Americans to the 1999 World Cup and to the 1996 and 2004 Olympic gold medals. "The reason why I picked those two goalkeepers was because especially of the way we play," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. "We want to keep the ball. I want them to do it in the back four, including the goalkeeper. Both Nicole and Hope are very good with their feet." When Scurry was told she did not make the team, Sundhage said she "acted very professional. ... Now she's a third goalkeeper. She will be fit and ready to go if something happens to the other two goalkeepers." Sundhage selected several veterans, including defenders Kate Markgraf and Christie Rampone, who will perform in their third Olympics, and striker Abby Wambach, who has 98 international goals to her credit. The roster also boasts 2004 gold-medal winners Heather Mitts, Lindsay Tarpley, Shannon Boxx, Angela Hucles, Heather O'Reilly and Aly Wagner. With former captain Kristine Lilly pregnant, the U.S. will play without its legendary old guard for the first time in a FIFA competition. Sundhage said that she will miss Lilly's experience, but that the team must move on. "My glass is half full," she said. "This is more about the team than talking about the gold old days with great players like Lilly, Mia Hamm, Continue Reading

Nike unveils white and black home uniforms for U.S. women’s World Cup soccer team

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — Nike has unveiled black and white home uniforms for the U.S. Women’s World Cup team. Wait, what? There’s no prevalent red, white and blue in the home kits — save for a small blue patch surrounding 13 white stars on the inside back neckline. The jerseys are white with boxy black numbers and letters, to go with neon yellow socks that give way to electric blue cleats. Even U.S. Soccer’s normally red, white and blue crest, along with the two stars signifying the team’s two previous World Cup titles, is black and white. Photos of the jerseys leaked about a month ago, and already there was a commotion over the color scheme. Some compared them to Nike’s kits for New Zealand, which are also black and white. U.S. forward and Nike athlete Alex Morgan praised the uniforms, which the company released Wednesday. “The black and white are different from anything we’ve ever had before. They’re very clean,” Morgan said. “You know it’s not a lot of red, white and blue in the white one because they wanted a clean look. I think it stands out in the fact that it is clean and just simple and I love that.” RELATED: HOPE SOLO, CHRISTIE RAMPONE HEADLINE U.S. WORLD CUP ROSTER Nike previously released the team’s away uniforms, which include gradient blue jerseys with red touches. The Beaverton-based shoe and apparel maker has been known to buck tradition. Just look at the myriad of uniform combinations they’ve put together for the football team at Oregon — company co-founder Phil Knight’s alma mater. Nike notably left out the Ducks’ school colors — green and yellow — for the uniforms Oregon wore in college football’s national championship game. The uniforms were white with silver accents. So why no red, white and blue? “We always design home and away as one story, so the focus was on the blue Continue Reading